The gender gap in earnings and rewards remains persistent across many professional and managerial work contexts. In these settings, where there are few objective criteria for performance and organisational mechanisms are weak, we propose that personal political values can serve as a powerful influence on whether supervisors reduce or enhance inequalities in performance-based rewards. We develop theory about how political liberalism versus conservatism, reflecting different views on social inequality and social change, affect supervisors’ perceptions and allocative decision making. Combining internal personnel and billings data with publicly-available political donation records in a large law firm, we test the effect of political ideology among supervising law firm partners on the performance-based bonuses awarded to male and female subordinate lawyers. We find the male-female gender gap in performance-based pay is reduced for professional workers tied to liberal supervisors, relative to conservative supervisors. We further find this political ideology effect increases for workers with greater seniority in the organisation. Our findings contribute to an understanding of the determinants of the gender earnings gap, suggesting that in settings where managers have leeway over rewards and careers, their personal political beliefs have an important influence on outcomes for male and female workers
Aparna Joshi’s work focuses on multilevel issues in workplace diversity, gender issues in science and engineering, collaboration in global and distributed teams, generational issues in the workplace, and international and cross-cultural management. Her work in the area of gender dynamics in engineering work groups was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant. Her research appears in Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Organization Science. Aparna’s work has received the Academy of Management’s Saroj Parasuraman Award in 2010, the Dorothy Harlow Distinguished Paper Award in 2006 and 2008, the Ulrich-Lake Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Human Resource Management Journal, and the Academy of Management’s Best Dissertation Award (Gender and Diversity in Organizations division) and has also been featured in the Cincinnati Enquirer, USA Today, and the Times of India. Prior to joining Smeal she was on the faculty of the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She has served on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Journal and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and is currently an Associate Editor for the Academy of Management Journal. She was awarded the 2014 Cummings Award for Early to Mid-Career Scholarly Achievement, one of the highest professional honors in the field, by the Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management.
The issue of female representation in corporate leadership positions has taken centre-stage among policy-makers, corporations and academics alike. The central focus of research, discussions and debates has predominantly focused on current female representation on corporate boards, which tells us little about what future strategies are in place to ensure a sustainable pipeline of qualified and board-ready female candidates and longevity of female board representation.
Examining female rise to boardrooms holistically is important to evaluate the degree to which females play a meaningful role on corporate boards and in shaping corporate strategies and outcomes.
Professor Nadkarni will share findings of her award-winning research on the global enablers and inhibitors of women in corporate boardrooms where she examined how economic, cultural, political and regulatory factors in different countries shape female board percentage and sustainability. This research won the highly commented award for thought leadership at the Investment week innovation and marketing awards in 2015 was nominated for the University of Cambridge Vice Chancellor’s impact award in 2016.
Sucheta Nadkarni is the Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management and head of the strategy and international business group at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and a professorial fellow at Newnham College. She is also the faculty lead of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Cambridge Judge Business School. Her primary research interests include strategic leadership with a special focus on female rise to corporate boards and executive leadership positions. She has published extensively in leading academic journals in management. She is an associate editor of the Academy of Management Journal and the Journal of Management. She also sits on the editorial of four other leading academic journals. She has worked on research projects and grants with companies such as Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, Newton Asset Management, BNY Mellon and The 30% Club. Her research on female rise to boardrooms has been featured in global media outlets including The New York Times, Forbes, CNBC, Huffington Post, Reuters, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Scotsman, The Economic Times, The Times of India, Herald Tribune, Borsen, O Globo, The Times (Kuwait), Business Standard and Folha De Sao Paulo.
The issue of female representation on the board has taken centre stage among academicians and practitioners alike, but has also generated considerable controversy and debate. Yet, sadly, we know almost nothing as to how this issue pans out globally. The primary motivation of this study is to fill this important gap and to present comprehensive and nuanced explanations of global variations in female representation on the board. We integrate the resource dependence (RDT) (female market participation and proportion of females holding parliamentary seats) and institutional theories (mandatory quotas and corporate governance code) to propose socio-political drivers of global variation in the number and turnover of female board members. We test these propositions using 1045 largest firms (Forbes Global 2000 list) from 41 countries and 51 industries over a 10-year period: 2004-2013. We found that female market participation, female political representation and gender diversity requirement in corporate governance codes related positively to the number of female board members and negatively to female board turnover. However, mandatory quotas related positively to the number of female board members but did not relate significantly to female board turnover. Together, these results point to the importance of RDT and institutional explanations of global variation in female board representation, but also raise questions about the value of quotas in enhancing female board representation and longevity.
Dr Elaine Y.N. Oon (main presenter)
Elaine is a Research Fellow at Cambridge Judge Business School, from where she was also awarded her PhD in October 2014. She is currently on a two-year post-doctoral research scholarship, fully funded by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education and her home academic institution, University of Malaya, of which she has been a faculty member since July 2008. Her research interests include top management team and international business.
Professor Sucheta Nadkarni
Sucheta is the Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. Her primary research interests include strategic leadership, strategic change and competitive dynamics. She has published in journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Applied Psychology and MIS Quarterly. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Management and sits on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal and Journal of Management Inquiry. She has also worked on research projects and grants with companies such as Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton in the areas of strategic change and leadership, Newton Asset Management and BNY Mellon.
Across the globe, elite professional work has been predominantly male-dominated and even committed organisational interventions have been unsuccessful in maintaining completely egalitarian workspaces. In this context, the case of elite law firms in India poses a puzzle. In the country’s most prestigious firms, women are about one half the population, even at senior levels of partnership. This is at odds both with scholarship on women in high status professions as well as the more particular research on India. Using in-depth interviews with 130 elite professionals across different organisational sites, this research adopts comparative frameworks to reveal the organisational mechanisms underlying this unlikely gender parity. Unlike Indian banking and consulting firms that are local offices of elite global conglomerates, elite Indian law firms struggle with issues of organisational legitimacy and feel the need to aggressively differentiate themselves from their more traditional peers. At the same time, as institutions trying to mimic global firms without actual scripts to do so, these firms engage in a form of speculative isomorphism that has unlikely advantages for its actors. These data suggest that equal gender representation is one such mechanism by which these new, elite firms signal meritocracy and modernity to their global audience.
Swethaa Ballakrishnen is a doctorate candidate at the Sociology Department at Stanford University and an affiliate research fellow at the Program of the Legal Profession in Harvard Law School. Her research broadly investigates organisational innovation, stratification and global legal and regulatory influence in emerging markets. Particularly, she is interested in the ways in which the West and the assumptions of the West orient and organise individual outcomes, interactions and institutions in the developing world. At Stanford now, her doctoral research explores the construction of gender and the organisational mechanisms that promote (and inhibit) viable equal opportunity in global legal workspaces.
Research into the glass cliff examines what happens when women (and other minority groups) take on leadership roles in increasing numbers. Extending the metaphor of the glass ceiling, ‘the glass cliff’ describes the phenomenon whereby individuals belonging to particular groups are more likely to be found in leadership positions that are associated with a greater risk of failure and criticism. This talk will describe a programme of research which has uncovered the phenomenon of the glass cliff and investigates the underlying psychological processes.
Michelle Ryan is a Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Exeter. With Alex Haslam, she has uncovered the phenomenon of the glass cliff, whereby women (and members of other minority groups) are more likely to be placed in leadership positions which are risky or precarious. Research into the glass cliff has been funded by the ESRC and the ESF. In 2005 it was shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Supplement Research Project of the Year and was named by the New York Times as one of the top 100 ideas that shaped 2008.